Newly-discovered fossils suggest giant dinosaurs evolved earlier

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We have seen dinosaurs only on the big screens or theme parks and they seem intriguing creatures.

Ten-dinosaur weighing about ten tons was named Ingentia prima - "first giant".

For a long time, as noted, Apalette, scientists believed that their ancestors appeared in the late Triassic period, about 210 million years ago.

The fossil was discovered from the northwest of Argentina during a field trip.

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As the researchers pointed out, during early-Triassic, when dinosaurs started to grow, there were many small reptiles which evolved in giant dinosaurs.

The discovery winds back the clock on the emergence of giant dinosaurs by a staggering 30 million years - shedding fresh light on their evolution. Its neck also was shorter than later sauropods, which possessed among the longest necks relative to body length of any animals ever.

Cecilia Apaldetti of the University of San Juan said, 'Before this discovery, gigantism was considered to have emerged during the Jurassic period, approximately 180 million years ago, but Ingentia prima lived at the end of the Triassic, between 210 and 205 million years ago'. The first ones were modestly sized, a far cry from the huge dinosaurs of the subsequent Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. "It was at least twice as large as the other herbivores of the time".

But Ingentia Prima, which was found alongside the remains of three individuals belonging to the already known species Lessemsaurus sauropoides, changes this. The authors say many of these adaptations were not specific to gigantism, instead allowing for greater mobility as I. prima moved across the Triassic landscape.

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Ingentia prima was an early member of a dinosaur group called sauropods, a forerunner of the largest land animals that are known to have walked the Earth, including the Patagonian behemoths Argentinosaurus, Dreadnoughtus and Patagotitan.

Excavators found several vertebrae from the neck and tail as well as fore and hind leg bones.

But unlike their more recent counterparts they stood on bent legs and had bones that grew thick through accelerated bursts.

"These pneumatic cavities indicate that this new species had highly developed air sacs and a very efficient breathing system, similar to what happens in modern birds, which also helped it to keep its body cool despite its large size".

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The last, iconic sauropods had the benefit of a long history of evolutionary innovation in this regard, said Dr Apaldetti.

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